New Orleans is unlike any other city on Earth. Nowhere else is it more difficult to have a bad time than in the Big Easy, as the state of Louisiana’s most beloved city is known. The name comes from the 1960s, when a New Orleans gossip columnist compared New Orleans to New York. In contrast to “the Big Apple” where everybody was always running around chasing money, people in “the Big Easy” enjoyed a much more laid-back lifestyle. The same holds true today. Mardi Gras only comes once a year, but with its incredible food, vibrant music and remarkable people, New Orleans almost forces you to have a good time and celebrate life without taking yourself too seriously every day of the year. Whatever your game, be it online pokies, sports betting or table games, your enjoyment will peak in New Orleans.
Gambling was only legalized in New Orleans in the 1990s, but games of chance have been popular ever since the days of the legendary Mississippi riverboats. In fact, riverboats are still the mainstay of New Orleans gambling. In 1991, the state of Louisiana made it legal for up to 15 riverboat casinos to play the local waters. Today, however, these riverboat casinos are permanently moored and never leave the dock. The biggest one is Boomtown New Orleans, open for business 24 hours a day with over 1 500 pokies and video poker games, as well as 30 table games on the first floor. If you’re hankering to cruise the Mississippi on a real paddle-steamer, though, you’re better off booking a ticket for the steamboat Natchez. Billed as “the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River”, the Natchez offers jazz dining cruises every day of the year.
The heart of the Big Easy
The days of the riverboat casino were numbered when land-based casinos were legalised. Today, if you’re more interested in serious gambling rather than the old-time Western romance of the riverboat, then Harrah’s Casino has what you are looking for. Not that it’s without romance in its own right – Harrah’s is located close to the iconic French Quarter, the historic heart of New Orleans, whose vibrant night-life and colorful buildings with old cast-iron balconies have featured in so many movies. And a good session you will have at Harrah’s, which offers more than 2 000 pokies, 100 gaming tables and a poker room, not to mention a hotel and a nightclub.
If you have the notion to explore further afield in New Orleans while keeping your game hand in, you might consider venturing into some of the city’s smaller neighborhood casinos. A favorite local hang-out in the Gentilly neighborhood, close to the famous Lake Pontchartrain, is the Carnival Club Casino & Sports Bar. Try your hand at the classic casino games on offer and stop in for a a bite to eat. While you’re in Gentilly, you can also pop in at Crescent City Casino. This 5 000 square foot gaming space has fifty gaming machines, a restaurant and bar, and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you fancy combining gambling and sports betting, head for Gentilly’s historic Fairground, established in 1872, where the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots has big pokies rooms, video poker and off-track betting. Wherever you choose to gamble, be mindful that you must be 21 years old to enter a casino or gamble on casino games or video poker in Louisiana – although you can still bet on the horses or buy a lottery ticket provided that you are 18 and older.